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Thurs 20 Nov: 10 things you need to know today

We’ve done all the hard work, so you don’t have to! Read on for our top ten travel industry news stories of the day we think you need to know.

We’ve done all the hard work, so you don’t have to! Read on for our top ten travel industry news stories of the day we think you need to know.

1. What do travellers really want… online?

Image: Gustavo Frazao/Shutterstock

Image: Gustavo Frazao/Shutterstock

Price transparency and personalised offers, apparently – two things travel agents offer in spades.

The study conducted by Amadeus in North America and online company, Tnooz revealed that when it comes to online travel a third agreed that companies are on the right track when it comes to basic search and shopping, but 53 percent said there will still room for improvement.

More than half of respondents wished companies would make prices clearer. 37 percent said they wanted to search using more personalised options and five percent wanted to incorporate more social media into the process.

Read on.


2. In case you missed it: Aussies travel visa-free to Bali


Bali = great food, beautiful beaches, impressive service and soon visa-free entry.

From January next year Australian travellers get visa-free entry into Indonesia under a new ruling made by the country’s recently appointed president, Joko Widodo.

The country will waive the US$25 visa-on-arrival requirement for visitors from Australia, Japan, China, South Korea and Russia.

Read on.


3. WOW! You’ll want to ‘fly away’ after watching Bangkok Airways’ new safety video

Attention, attention please! Bangkok Airways’ flight attendants sing, dance and ‘fly away’ in new music… I mean safety video.

The Thai airline has successfully overshadowed Air New Zealand’s flying hobbits, with this safety demonstration that features auto-tune and Macarena-like dance moves.

But perhaps the best part of the video is the voice dubbing over the pilot’s Thai message.

It may seem wacky but we know one thing for sure – you won’t want to take your eyes off the safety message.


4. Scenic takes luxury river vessel to the Mekong


Tapping into the growing Asia river cruise market, Scenic Tours has revealed it will launch its latest luxury river ship, Scenic Spirit on the Mekong.

Commencing January 2016, the 68-passenger vessel will sail on eight-day cruises between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap.

Along the way guests will visit Cai Be, Sa Dec, Phnom Penh, Tonle Sap, Kampong Chhnang, Wat Hanchey and Kampong Cham where they will disembark.

Scenic Spirit also offers five-star luxury as the largest all-balcony ship on the river. All 34 suites feature separate bedroom, living room and balcony and start from 32 square meters for Deluxe Suite to the 80 square metre Royal Panorama Suite.

Further information will be available in the Scenic Tours 2016 Mekong River Cruise brochure out on Monday.


5. Holidaying seven-year-old discovers dinosaur sea monster fossil in the outback

Image: Catmando/Shutterstock

Image: Catmando/Shutterstock

A primary school student has become the youngest ‘archeologist’ to discover prehistoric fossils during a recent holiday around Australia’s outback.

The seven-year-old was digging for fossils with her twin brother and parents in central Queensland when she uncovered the 1.5-metre skull of an Ichthyosaur – a large 250 million year old whale-like marine animal.

“Amber wanted to be the paleontologist, which was the reason we were there so we said “choose your spot”. All four of us started digging, my husband picked up a rock and the kids looked underneath it and out popped a vertebrae.”

                Lisa Wilson, young paleontologist’s mother

Following the discovery, the family contacted the town’s fossil museum, which sent an expert over to confirm the find.

The skull is now on display at the museum, Kronosaurus Korner.


6. Rail Plus agents dine with 007 in Monte Carlo

RailPlus for website

Global Rail’s top sellers felt like action heroes during their recent ‘Experts’ trip where they had the chance to dine in the same restaurant as James Bond in Monte Carlo.

This year the group took a 10-day journey from Germany to France with a number of high-speed rail journeys in between, including one on an ICE train to Munich; a TER service to Monaco; and a TGV to Paris.

During the trip agents were exposed to the many historic wonders of Europe, but it wasn’t until they were in Monte Carlo when the real action took place – the group shared a restaurant with former 007 Roger Moore.

Travelling with the group was Rail Plus NSW/ACT sales manager Nicki Schleibs, who said this year the journey really highlighted why rail is a relaxing and efficient way to see Europe.

“We packed an enormous amount into the trip and that was possible because we were travelling on some of the world’s best high-speed rail networks, giving us more time to experience some unforgettable destinations.”

                 Nicki Schleibs, Rail Plus NSW/ACT sales manager


7. New bureau to push Dubai travel in APAC

Image: Sophie James/Shutterstock

Image: Sophie James/Shutterstock

Dubai’s tourism bureau has established a new marketing body and appointed a new regional manager in Asia Pacific to oversee visitor growth from the region.

The new office will supervise the existing DCTDCM offices in the Far East, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and assist in delivering Dubai’s target of 20 million visitors per year by 2020.

Based in Sydney, the APAC Regional Office was be led by Julie King, who currently head DCTCM in Australia and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Shahab Al Shayan has been appointed as regional manager, Asia Pacific and will be based in DCTCM’s head office in Dubai.


8.  New Caledonia ‘has it all’ in new campaign


French personality. Justine Schofield returns as New Caledonia’s brand ambassador in the second phase of the island nation’s marketing campaign targeting 25- to- 35-year old travellers.

Titled ‘Have It All’, the $300,000 promotion initially launched in June this year, with a series of webisodes highlighting the culture, nature and culinary experiences in New Caledonia.

Since, the region has experienced steady growth in Australian visitors. There was even a record 25 percent spike in August this year compared to the same month last year.

Read more.


9. Crazy deals: $199 to the Philippines

Philippines for website

Get packing because this offer is too good to refuse.

Cebu Pacific Air is having a holiday season sail, with flights from Sydney to Manila starting at $199 per person.

Fares are inclusive of fees and fuel surcharges, but if you’re bringing the diving gear you may need to pay a little extra because it does not include meals or baggage allowance.

The offer is valid until 21 November for travel from 1 December 2014 to 31 March 2015.


10. Sneak Peek: First look at Holland America’s new ship, ms Koningsdam

Elegant interiors and contemporary styling – that’s what you can expect from Holland America’s first Pinnacle-class ship, ms Koningsdam launching February 2016.

This week, the cruise line released first renderings of inside the 2,650-guest ship to give travellers, travel agents and cruise fans a first look at the vessel.

Described by interior designer Adam D Tihany and Bjørn Storbraaten as ‘”forward thinking”, public spaces onboard reflect Holland America’s signature elegance fused with a modern balance of past, present and future.

Read on.

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